August 13, 1984 12:00 PM

The Style Council

This record embraces so many styles, from jazz to pop, cabaret to rap, that it’s hard to believe all but two of the 12 songs are written by the same person. What’s even harder to believe is that the person is Paul Weller, longtime singer-guitarist-composer for the hard-rocking British trio the Jam. Never quite as popular in America as in England, the Jam disbanded in 1983 after six years. Many British critics compared the group favorably to The Who and called it the most intelligent of the punk bands. But apparently Weller thought it was time for a change, since he has formed Style Council with Mick Talbot, formerly a keyboardist for Dexy’s Midnight Runners. With a group of supporting musicians, the duo set out in eight or nine directions at once. The album’s title song, a radio hit, is a well-crafted, melodic pop tune. Blue Café is a lilting guitar number that recalls Django Reinhardt. Dropping Bombs on the White House, a Weller-Talbot collaboration, is a cool jazz track bolstered by a swinging sax solo from Billy Champman, and Mick’s Blessing, written by Talbot, is a rollicking barrelhouse piano song. Weller has attempted an ambitious range of expression and generally he pulls it off with a sophistication that in some moments brings to mind the records of jazz-rock fusionist Ben Sidran. If his moods are anything like his songs, Paul Weller must be quite a happy guy: not necessarily a consistent guy but a happy one. (Geffen)

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